The true teas are black, green, oolong, Pu-Erh (poo-air), and white. They all come from the Camellia sinesis plant and are very healthy beverages. Green and white tea have the lightest color leaves, which are minimally processed. For this reason, they retain more disease protective polyphenols and antioxidants. The darker teas, (black, oolong, and Pu-Erh) contain healthy theaflavins, that form when their polyphenols ferment and turn orange-red. Herbal teas that we love to drink for their aroma and flavor, are NOT considered true teas, however, they may still contain beneficial antioxidants.
If you are a coffee drinker, try to make it a goal to replace some of the coffee you drink with good quality tea. Experiment with different teas and try to make it a priority to drink at least 4 cups a day. If cutting back on caffiene is a concern, you can accomplish this by pouring water over the tea leaves. Let the mixture stand 30-45 seconds. Drain the water and then brew normally. Much of the caffeine is removed in this process, because it is very water soluble. The polyfenols are more durable and not affected by doing this. If you like adding milk to your tea, be aware that it does interfere with the antioxidant levels and activity of the tea.
It has been said that black tea may lower the risk of heart disease and colon cancer. Studies have shown that regular black tea drinkers reported a greater feeling of clam over a period of time. They also had lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that is thought to play an important role in heart disease.
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